AF3IRM Los Angeles Announces Campaign to End Criminalization of Sex Trafficking Survivors in Massage Parlors

May 11, 2018
Sylvia Cabrera, AF3IRM LA Co-Coordinator
[email protected], (213) 537-7260
Jollene Levid, AF3IRM International Department
(323) 456-4748

LOS ANGELES– On Thursday, May 10th, AF3IRM Los Angeles (AF3IRM LA) unveiled its campaign to end the criminalization of sex trafficking survivors in Los Angeles County massage parlors as the next focus in its ongoing Purple Rose Campaign. The Los Angeles chapter of AF3IRM, a national organization of women of color committed to ending the trafficking of women and children, gathered organizational representatives and community members at Mercado La Paloma to discuss this current campaign they have been waging since December of 2017.

The statistics on sex trafficking are daunting. According to the International Labour Organization, 20.9 million people are bought and sold every year, and the forced sex trade generates $99 billion in profit annually. “As women of color, we know that this impacts us women and our children most – the highest numbers of trafficked women come from the Asia-Pacific region, followed by Africa, and then Latin America. These are yellow, black, and brown women being bought and sold,” said Skylar Perez-Grogan, AF3IRM LA Youth Coordinator. “Ninety-four percent of sex trafficking victims are women and eighty-eight percent are children,” she added.

The problem is particularly intense in the United States and in Los Angeles. In the U.S., Asian and Pacific Islander, indigenous, and black women comprise the highest numbers of trafficked women. Los Angeles is one of the top sites for trafficking. The County of Los Angeles is set to vote on an ordinance requiring massage parlors to undergo annual public health inspections in the hopes that they will also curb sex trafficking. “When the motion was announced last November, we immediately began researching the current safety net infrastructure for survivors, and ways to ensure that survivors would not be criminalized, which is our number one priority,” said Sylvia Cabrera, AF3IRM LA Co-Coordinator.

Armed with best-practice existing models and research, AF3IRM LA representatives lobbied the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to demand absolutely no criminalization of survivors, including no detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Los Angeles Police Department, or Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; and to call for survivor-centered approaches to handling sex trafficking survivor cases and situations.

AF3IRM Los Angeles is approaching the campaign with the goal of creating the best model for safeguarding the rights of sex trafficking survivors in the country. The ordinance is set to be voted on before July 2018. In order to support the campaign, please email [email protected] and follow us @AF3IRMLA on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for updates.